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Friday, September 14, 2012

Laughing

Scene: At McDonald's waiting in line. The man in front of us asks for a hot dog.
How not to laugh when you are inclined to be a giggly person, not mean or ill-meaning, but simply a person who finds humor in everyday situations? Oh, my goodness. It's hard sometimes.

Laughing in unexpected places can be very embarrassing. As a teenager I went to the movies with my cousin to see The Emigrants/Utvandrerne. It's a beautiful, but slow and serious story about a 19th century Swedish emigrant family. For some reason an expression said by one of the actors sounded so funny in our heads, we just could not stop laughing. We put handkerchiefs in our mouths to control the chuckles in an otherwise quiet theater.

There are many kinds of laughter. Baby's giggles are very contagious. Children enjoying play are prone to laugh and we laugh with them. A good joke or funny situation can trigger happy hilarity. But laughter can be mean and hurtful too. Some can even sound hysterical or vulgar.

One night this summer, with windows wide open letting in the gentle warm breezes and smells of the season, we tried to sleep, but heard laughter from a party across the field and on a distant street. Sounds carry easily and sometimes seem closer than they actually are. It was my cousin. I confronted her later, asking her if they had had a party until x time in the morning. She had. What can I say? She loves to laugh.

There are benefits to healthy, uplifting laughter. One Internet page claims that laughter is good for your health.


  • Laughter relaxes the whole body.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. 
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, 
  • Laughter protects the heart. 
The article suggest ways to create opportunities to laugh, and tells you where to begin:
  • Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
  • Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”
Have you laughed lately?
What makes you laugh?

Today's water color: A laughing fairy.

2 comments:

  1. Jeg liker slike oppskrifter på latter:-) Stein er også slik - ser humor i så mye og kan le når ingen andre gjør det. Vi har hatt flere episoder av det.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Veldig komisk! Arnfinn har ofte gjort det også.

    ReplyDelete